Covid caged: Five big cats at Sakkarbaug zoo get 2nd jab
Three leopards and two lions at Sakkarbaug zoo have been fully vaccinated against Covid
Three leopards and two lions at Sakkarbaug zoo have been fully vaccinated against Covid.
The field trial to administer the vaccines to the big cats has been successful and all the five animals are doing well.
Officials in the Gujarat forest department said that in line with the protocols the second doses were given to the cats 28 days after the first shots were administered.
The second shots were given in the second week of June and the officials had been monitoring the animals.
On Tuesday, the officials said that so far there has been no adverse reaction.
An official said that the first dose was administered to the three leopards and the two lions in May.
The official said that none of the five caged animals is part of the zoo's breeding programme for conservation.
After the novel coronavirus claimed the lives of two lions at Chennai zoo in June 2021, the Centre turned to National Research Centre on Equines in Haryana, established under Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR-NRCE).
The mission given to ICAR-NRCE was the development of Covid vaccines for the big cats. Sakkarbaug in Junagadh was one of the six zoos in the country where clinical trials were conducted on lions and leopards to test the vaccine efficacy.
The zoo is a nodal facility for lion breeding in the country.
The officials said that as defined by the protocols the animals are observed for antibodies regularly and reports are sent to ICAR-NRCE. The officials said that the antibodies have to be monitored for nearly two months after the second doses are administered.
An official said that at present antibodies are developing well, and the animals do not have fever or any other reaction.
However, he said that one has to wait for the results from other zoos.
A four-year-old female tiger, Nadia of the Bronx Zoo in New York City, was the first big cat to be diagnosed with Covid.
She tested positive in April 2020. She and five other animals were infected after being exposed to an asymptomatic zookeeper.
In India, eight Asiatic lions at Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad were the first to test positive for Covid, in May 2021.
The lions' symptoms included wheezing, dry cough, nasal discharge, and loss of appetite.
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